NASA Awards $17 Million for Exploration Research

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NASA’s Human Research Program and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute in Houston will fund 26 proposals to investigate questions about astronaut health and performance on future deep-space exploration missions, NASA said in a May 6 press release.

The research may help protect astronauts during deep-space missions beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere, which shields astronauts aboard the international space station from some of the harmful effects of solar and extra-solar radiation. 

The selected proposals are from 16 institutions in eight U.S. states and will receive a combined $17 million over one- to three-year performance periods, NASA said in the press release. The 26 projects were selected from 123 proposals received in response to the research announcement “Research and Technology Development to Support Crew Health and Performance in Space Exploration Missions.” 

The funding comes from NASA’s roughly $4 billion exploration budget account, which is managed by the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The funded research includes studies of people who will stay for a year in an Antarctic research facility; studies of bone-density loss suffered by astronauts in space; space-sickness prevention; team-building for long-duration space missions; vitamin degradation in food prepared specially for spaceflight; and studies of equipment used by astronauts to remotely control robots that have landed on extraterrestrial bodies.